St. Teresa of Avila begins to see the vanity of the world, and to resolve to be a nun

October 27, 2021 • 3 min

From Life of St. Teresa of Avila written by Herself, page 14

At this time, though I was not careless about my own good, our Lord was much more careful to dispose me for that state of life which was best for me. He sent me a serious illness, so that I was obliged to return to my father’s house.

When I became well again, they took me to see my sister in her house in the country village where she dwelt. Her love for me was so great that, if she had had her will, I should never have left her. Her husband also had a great affection for me—at least, he showed me all kindness. This too I owe rather to our Lord, for I have received kindness everywhere; and all my service in return is, that I am what I am!

On the road lived a brother of my father—a prudent and most excellent man, then a widower. Him too our Lord was preparing for Himself. In his old age, he left all his possessions and became a religious. He so finished his course that I believe him to have the vision of God.

He would have me stay with him some days. His practice was to read good books in Spanish; and his ordinary conversation was about God and the vanity of the world. These books he made me read to him; and, though I did not much like them, I appeared as if I did; for in giving pleasure to others I have been most particular, though it might be painful to myself—so much so, that what in others might have been a virtue was in me a great fault, because I was often extremely indiscreet.

O my God, in how many ways did His Majesty prepare me for the state wherein it was His will I should serve Him!—how, against my own will, He constrained me to do violence to myself! May He be blessed for ever! Amen.

Though I remained here but a few days, yet, through the impression made on my heart by the words of God both heard and read, and by the good conversation of my uncle, I came to understand the truth I had heard in my childhood, that all things are as nothing, the world vanity, and passing rapidly away.

I also began to be afraid that, if I were then to die, I should go down to hell.

Though I could not bend my will to be a nun, I saw that the religious state was the best and safest. And thus, by little and little, I resolved to force myself into it.

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